44 miles. 12. 5 average. Journey’s end. 2038 miles since we cycled by the placque in Mobile, Alabama, that indicated where the slave market had been, to the Black History Cairn in Owen Sound.
The last time we were on the bike. We’d shed all our equipment for one of the prettiest days of riding we’ve had. And biiiiiiig climbs, too. Silly me, I thought it would be easy without BOB and all his buddies! I was still pushing and puffing.
This really brought it home to me. Every summer in August, for the past 145 years, there is an Emancipation Festival in Harrison Park where this monument is. History is still alive in Owen Sound.
Many of the stones in this cairn were donated by many of the states along the Underground Railroad, “The Free State of Maine,” “The former Slave State of Maryland…”
The floor of the cairn represents quilt squares used for messages and signals along the Underground Railroad.
Imagine, people fleeing all those hundreds and thousands of miles to find freedom in Canada. I found this little monument to be so very moving. And I hope that I am not sounding corny, but I wish every American could learn the history we’ve learned. And I wish every African American could understand the courage of their ancestors to have survived such a system and to hope and strive for something better. I have learned such respect for all these people.
So. It was quite a journey. It’s hard to end a trip like this. It’s bittersweet. Sweet because the goal we’ve been reaching for over 48 days has been achieved. Bitter because tomorrow I won’t be getting on my bicycle, and all our new friends will be scattering to their corners of the world. But the sweetest of all! 2038 miles and NO FLAT TIRES!!! No problems at all with the bicycle. It faithfully shifted endlessly and carried us over all those hills. The ride today was great in warm sunny weather, tail winds, beautiful farm country, a light load and arrival at a significant historic landmark. Journey’s end. Joan and Ilkka